After nearly five decades of inhabiting a body that behaved exactly the way my mind instructed, it all began to crash around me in 2010.
That year I had the ‘perfect storm’ with many unfortunate happenings.
It was as though I was living in some crazy traveling circus complete with jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists and clowns. Then, while juggling too many “balls” at once I suffered two big falls and cartwheeled myself back into physical therapy (hello back & pelvic pain!).
My tenacious physician left no stone unturned and for years I back-flipped into every pelvic pain specialist’s office and agreed to every test and procedure under the big top. (Okay enough of the circus metaphors suffice it to say my body and my health had become quite the spectacle!)
The Revolving Door of Treatments
My original symptoms began as low back pain that radiated over my right buttocks/hip region in concert with a constant annoying hypersensitive pain within my right inner thigh.
I was given several different medicines, for nerve damage, localized pain, generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, seizure disorder and overactive bladder (what?).
Over the next 18 months, I dutifully showed up for physical therapy twice a week for “unexplained pelvic pain syndrome”, monthly acupuncture treatments and chiropractic manipulation, bi-monthly myofascial trigger release, and medical massage therapy.
I tried orthotic heel lifts, pelvic compression belts, spa baths, steroid injections, traction, hundreds of pelvic/back exercises, biofeedback, electronic stimulation, meditation, special diets, assorted pillows, mattresses, pads and soft balls – all in an attempt to make walking, lying and sitting for more than 20 minutes possible.
Nothing helped. At least not for more than a few days.
To add insult to injury most of these modalities were on my dime because they weren’t covered by my insurance. Plus, it felt like most of the caregivers could care less! UGH!
Forget about scheduling anything personal into my calendar – I had turned my life over to every specialist under the sun with his or her latest and greatest treatment plan of the month. It all felt about as disjointed as a Barnum and Baily contortionist. (Sorry I couldn’t resist.)
How I Became the CEO of My Own Health
In early 2013 I was referred to a respected clinic in Arizona, where a supportive group of traditional medical specialists checked me out from head to toe. They diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and pudental nerve entrapment.
They collectively decided against prescribing more narcotics, antidepressants and “nerve blocking drugs” (which weren’t dialing down the pain anyway). Instead, they recommended I research and seek out holistic avenues for pain management.
Could it be that they believed I could manage my care better than they could?
Imagine that! Traditional medical doctors suggesting I seek pain reducing modalities that feel “RIGHT” to me instead of taking scary drugs (with potentially scarier side effects).
They encouraged me to “Be the CEO of my Health”! And I decided that was exactly what I was going to do.
Discovering the Magic of Mind Body Healing
I’d been introduced to the Mind-Body healing approach in the Spring of 2011, and at that time I simply wasn’t ready to accept that my pain wasn’t from a disease or accident/fall; nor was I willing to implement any of the Mind Body tools into my life. So I put that information on a back shelf of my brain and filed it away.
Then, in the Winter of 2013 I stumbled upon another online Mind-Body (MB) coaching resource. This time the timing was perfect!
The coach’s story spoke to me in a way that ignited an ancient remembered truth: “I have everything I need within me to heal”.
As I allowed my mind to marinate on this, I signed up for her talk. The magnitude of the notion “I have everything I need within me to heal” resonated louder and louder as each day passed.
The coach was genius! She made an excellent case for learning the MB process: paying attention to your body’s sensations (Energy in Motion) instead of relying solely on your mind to give you important information. When you allow yourself to feel and process your emotions you access your personal inner wisdom and initiate true healing.
I was ‘all in’! My body told me (with numerous goosebumps) that I was on the perfect track and taking my first steps back to wellness.
I absorbed the class material vorocously and ‘gobbled up’ everything ‘Mind-Body’ that I could get my hands on. The knowledge was absorbed on a cellular level like a rich, emollient creme compounded especially for my dry and parched soul. I soaked it in and developed a kinder relationship with my mind/body and emotions.
I learned to attentively scan my body for sensations, found the courage to befriend my emotions and eventually received unexpected clarity from my soul. (Sometimes just a word, but other times huge messages like thunder clapping “AH HA! Dig This!” messages.)
Gradually, I unhooked from my “stories” by noticing my physical and mental decoys. I began to question my thoughts for their quality and truthfulness – especially when I knew they weren’t serving my highest good or kept me repeating negative patterns.
I noted my everyday stress and tension minimizing when I relaxed into my “Loving Kindness” meditation. Ahhhhh.
I learned skills, tools, exercises, and ways to be mindful and the concept of “play” was reintroduced as yet another avenue to access joy. Could it get any better?
I discovered I could weave the MB process in my Life Coach practice. As a certified Martha Beck Life Coach I had grown an intimate community of clients on a similar journey to mine and now I could lovingly support them BETTER with these magnificent powertools and resources. I’d found my niche!
The Healing Spiral Continues
I won’t lie. For a while as I deepened my MB process my symptoms did worsen and moved around. For example, the pain traveled from my pelvis to my lower back, to my shoulder, to my knee, to my heel, to my shoulders.
The adage “from breakdown, to breakthrough” took on a whole new meaning as I navigated the roller coaster ups and downs of mind body healing.
I noticed when I was learning and practicing a new MB concept, before it was fully integrated, it was not unusual for my MIND to try and distract me with thoughts of being inadequate, lacking, unworthy, unlovable or just plain hopeless.
When pain persisted I identified my unwillingness to question my thoughts and my resistance around my emotions.
This happened at least a half dozen times and I would always remind myself that I was fine, this was the natural process of hearing ME. I’d start at the beginning again (calming myself down with breath, reviewing all the evidence that proved I was indeed healing, and placing my attention and trust back on the ways I had been taught to access my body, feel emotions, inquiry my thoughts/patterns and hear my soul’s voice).
This is about the same time I developed ‘Kindology’ and began using a daily practice that I created based on the vast MB healing resources, concepts, classes/programs, knowledge, wisdom and personal experiences I’d gathered and tried out over a year’s timeframe. “I guided me” back on course, and shared the good news with everyone who would listen.
Are We There Yet?
A curious thing happened as I practiced my program…my symptoms changed significantly. They were ALL gone.
As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and months into a year I slowly came off all my meds.
I picked back up most of the treasured activities that I let go when pain was running my life. I now regularly enjoy walking, lifting weights, gardening, traveling, wearing high heels and, yes, pain-free sex. YAY!!
Truthfully, I don’t even think about pain….and that’s so crazy because “pain” was my only thought and experience for years.
I no longer feel exhausted or run down either, but instead lighter, vital and more energetic. I’ve learned to be mindful of the present moment. I celebrate presence by practicing conscious breathing, enjoying my “Loving Kindness” meditation, tending to the hurtful sentences in my head, spending time in nature and noticing when all my senses are beautifully engaged.
I schedule play into my daily calendar and refuse to break those appointments with “me” as though my health depends upon them. (Because they do!)
Kindness Practice + MB Process + Play = Joy & Well-Being.
Eureka! The formula works for me and it’s working for my MB Life coach clients!
Speaking of Joy, I completely understand that I am solely responsible for any and all joy I experience in my life; I decide each day whether I choose it or not. (I’m pretty sure you can imagine which I pick.) And guess what? “I’m living proof that everything I needed to heal IS already inside of me”!
Know this: you never have to pursue, search or look for joy; nor is it hidden. The truth is, it resides inside you, now, 100 percent of the time, always available, just waiting to be accessed, shared and celebrated. This knowledge alone feels like tremendous hope and freedom to me.
And this is what my pain journey has given me.
So you’re probably wondering what I do to remain pain free now a year and half later?
I applied and was accepted into a six month Mind-Body University delving deeper into healing practices. I graduated December 2014 and continue my Kindness Practice and the MB Process in some form every single day to continue shining the awareness light on my thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and inner wisdom.
I don’t do this out of habit or a drudgery, instead I choose it as self-care – like many other things I chose to do in my life – brushing my teeth, taking a shower, resting when I’m tired, trimming my nails.
Wellbeing and your natural state of good health exist, and just like joy it’s already inside you. This is an “inside” job and when we turn within to hear our innate inner wisdom we CAN heal ourselves.
It’s only then that you’ll truly come to understand that your Soul has been rooting for you the entire time.
(Oh and that circus I mentioned earlier? Well, those elephants pulled out some time ago and I’m still doing cartwheels!
Do reach out if this lights you up and you’re ready for a dynamic Mind-Body Life Coach.
“A mind stretched by a new idea does not shrink back to its original dimensions.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes